Lauding ruling on roadless issue
By Raul Labrador
U.S. House of Representatives
Recently, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
upheld an Idaho rule that gives more flexibility
to the public seeking to cultivate untapped
natural resources on federal lands.
Under the leadership of then-Governor Jim Risch,
Idaho’s Roadless Rule was approved in 2006. His
process brought together county commissioners,
tribes, timber companies, hunters and
environmental and recreational groups in
Thanks to the court’s decision, essential
activities like road access and harnessing
multiple uses on public lands can continue.
The area covered by the Roadless Rule is vast.
In 2006, then-Governor Risch petitioned the U.S.
Forest Service to specify the 9.3 million acres
of inventoried roadless areas within Idaho.
I commend his unprecedented efforts to implement
local involvement in public lands management.
The recent court ruling is a victory for our
great state, allowing it to cultivate the land
and strengthen our economy while preserving our
national forests for future generations.
The freedom to develop these lands is consistent
with my position of encouraging economic growth.
You may remember that in March of 2012, the
House of Representatives passed my bill, the
Exploring for Geothermal Energy on Federal Lands
Act (H.R. 2171). This bill, approved on a
bipartisan basis, removed excessive regulatory
burdens imposed by the federal government with
regard to the production of energy on federal
lands. It encouraged energy companies to invest
in projects that would increase Idaho’s access
to geothermal energy while at the same time
protecting the environment.
In June of 2012 the Grazing Improvement Act of
2012 (H.R. 4234) was approved by the House
Natural Resources Committee. This bill, which I
introduced also had bipartisan support. It was
designed to give certainty to ranchers’ who need
access to grazing permits for their livestock.
As a result, ranchers would be able to make long
term economic plans and be better able to guide
the transition of their livestock from the
fields to the meat market and further strengthen
our economy—all because of their access to
Finally, in June 2012 I introduced the
Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act of 2012
(H.R. 6009) which would allow the governor of a
state to appoint local boards of trustees to
assume management of selected federal forest
acreage. Local management of these lands
unshackles many industries, such as timber, so
they may use the land to create jobs and
economic growth. Good jobs would follow and
counties would be able to generate their own
revenue without the need to accept millions of
taxpayer dollars. The local economies would be
bolstered and the federal government would save
money. This legislation is both sensible and
consistent with sound, financial principles.
For far too long the federal government has
hindered the ability of states like Idaho to
grow their own economies. The encroachment of
regulatory agencies on Idaho’s sovereignty has
brought well-meaning producers to their knees,
forcing them to scramble for survival. This is
why the freedom provided for in the Idaho
Roadless Rule must be preserved. I am pleased
that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld
this rule. Idaho’s industries must be given the
freedom they need to operate on lands with
resources that hold great promise for
strengthening Idaho’s economy.
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